(BIVN) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today launched
The second and final round of trade mitigation payments were launched today, aimed at “assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said producers of certain commodities will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for the second half of their 2018 production. The payments are being made at the direction of President Donald Trump, Perdue said.
“The President reaffirmed his support for American farmers and ranchers and made good on his promise, authorizing the second round of payments to be made in short order. While there have been positive movements on the trade front, American farmers are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year,” said Perdue in a USDA media release.
“Today I am making good on my promise to defend our Farmers & Ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” President Trump tweeted. “I have authorized Secretary Perdue to implement the 2nd round of Market Facilitation Payments. Our economy is stronger than ever–we stand with our Farmers!”
Hawaiʻi’s Senate Democrat Brian Schatz threw some social media shade on Trump’s statement, tweeting that “Paying farmers not to farm is not Great.”
Last week in Hawaiʻi, governors asked Secretary Perdue about international trade during the Western Governors Association meeting at the Fairmont Orchid. Perdue talked about the positive impacts of President Trump’s new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, which replaces NAFTA. He also talked about moving on an agreement with Japan, before talking about China.
“We’re continuing to have discussions,” Sec. Perdue said about China. “I think there’s a willingness on both sides.”
“China really has to structurally change the way it does business regarding intellectual property transfer and theft, and make fundamental differences in the way they view their international responsibilities regarding the world trade,” Perdue said. “We’re hopeful for all those. We’re going to be working on all fronts.”
Secretary Perdue told the governors that there is “money in the Farm Bill we’re gonna use to build market access in other places. I personally feel like we became too dependent on China’s market. I think we need to look at the end of Pacific, in many ways, from the Philippines and Thailand and Vietnam and India and Malaysia and Indonesia, those kind of places that have a lot of people, a lot of hungry mouths, that have not been as open.”
“There’s still some real some real hurt out there in the ag community over the trade disruptions” with China, Perdue said, adding that they are “trying to mitigate that the best we can.”
According to today’s news release:
Secretary Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to help protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets to help American farmers compete globally. In September, USDA initiated three programs to aid American agriculture in sustaining the short-term damages associated with the trade disputes and securing long-term, stable export markets.
USDA provided these details of programs currently employed:
- USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has been administering MFP to provide the first payments to almond, corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry, and wheat producers since September 2018 for the first 50 percent of their 2018 production.
- USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is administering a food purchase and distribution program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is distributing these commodities through nutrition assistance programs, such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs. So far, USDA has procured some portion of 16 of the 29 commodities included in the program, totaling more than 4,500 truckloads of food. AMS will continue purchasing commodities for delivery throughout 2019.
- Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, $200 million is being made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions. The application period closed in November with more than $600 million in requested activities from more than 70 organizations. FAS will announce ATP funding awards in early January.
USDA added this information on the Market Facilitation Program:
Producers need only sign-up once for the MFP to be eligible for the first and second payments. The MFP sign-up period opened in September and runs through January 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Producers must complete an application by January 15, 2019 but have until May 1, 2019 to certify their 2018 production. The MFP provides payments to almond, cotton, corn, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry, and wheat producers who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports. The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation CCC Charter Act and is under the administration of USDA’s FSA. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.
For farmers who have already applied, completed harvest, and certified their 2018 production, a second payment will be issued on the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for the specific commodity.
MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat capped per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $125,000 for dairy and hog producers, and a combined $125,000 for fresh sweet cherry and almond producers. Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.